While the North Koreans may have refrained from conducting a nuclear test and subsequent missile tests after their failed rocket launch in April 2012, recent satellite imagery shows that the North is still continuing development of their missile development and the launch pad at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station (Tongchang-ri). USKI’s 38 North was the first to report on these developments, analyzing imagery from DigitalGlobe. According to 38 North analysts, the North has conducted liquid-fueled rocket engine tests at the Sohae facility as recently as September, and has continuing improvements to the Sohae launch pad. Full analysis and satellite imagery can be found here: http://38north.org/2012/11/sohae111212/.
Just after Barack Obama was re-elected to a second term as President of the United States and just a month before a hotly contested presidential race in South Korea, the developments at Sohae have reminded both candidates of why North Korea policy coordination in these new adminstrations is important and of the potential for provocations at the outset of the two Presidents’ terms.
USKI’s38 North and Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) have launched new resources on the history of KEDO to help increase public understanding of what this project was and what it accomplished.
When the South Korean fast ferry Hankyoreh sailed out of North Korean waters into the cold wind and waves of the East Sea on the morning of 8 January 2006, it carried a sad and somber group of South Korean workers, ROK officials, and personnel from the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO). These were all that remained of a decade long multinational effort transforming what in 1994 had been only a paper notion into a modern construction complex of steel and concrete. KEDO’s profile on the North Korean landscape was unmistakable, its impact on Pyongyang profound. Yet, real knowledge and understanding about the organization in public and official circles in South Korea, Japan, and the United States was terribly thin at the beginning, and remains so to this day. ~ A History of KEDO 1994-2006
In conjunction with the release of CISAC’s new book, A History of KEDO 1994-2006–an oral history project meant to preserve what remains of the living memory about KEDO, of the thinking that went into setting up the organization, the efforts to coordinate plans and translate them to realities on the ground in North Korea, and the struggle to maintain a sense of sanity while KEDO was pushed and pummeled into disintegration–USKI’s 38 North launches a new video: “Reflections on KEDO.” In this video, Joel Wit (38 North founder and Visiting Scholar at the US-Korea Institute at SAIS), hosts a conversation with Ambassador Stephen Bosworth (former US Special Representative for North Korea Policy and current Dean of The Fletcher School at Tufts University) and Robert Carlin (CISAC Visiting Scholar), about their experiences with KEDO. All three were involved with KEDO at different times in its ten year history and provide insights into what it was like on the ground building this multilateral organization. They discuss some of the major challenges in dealing with the North Koreans, as well as the cultural learning curve faced by KEDO’s multicultural staff. From the perspective of direct experience, they examine both KEDO’s accomplishments and the opportunities missed by the organization’s abrupt termination. In the final segment, Ambassador Bosworth also reflects on the Obama administration’s North Korea policy and provides his views on how to improve relations with the North in the future.
My personal conclusion was they [North Koreans] were very serious about what they were doing—the enterprise that we were involved in. This was not something just being done for show. For them, it was not just KEDO and the Agreed Framework and light water reactors, but it was clear for many of them this was important because it was setting a series of precedents for how North Korea could begin to engage with rest of the world in a more direct and active fashion. ~ Ambassador Stephen Bosworth, “Reflections on KEDO,” a 38 North interview
On September 22, 2011, the U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS, in partnership with Peking University Center for International and Strategic Studies and Chung Ang University Graduate School of International Studies will host a one-day conference exploring the numerous political changes that will take place throughout Asia and the United States in 2012.
Panels will discuss what 2012 leadership may look like for the United States, South Korea, Japan, China, Russia and North Korea, as well as what the effects of these changes might have on regional security and security cooperation in the future.
For a full list of speakers and to RSVP, click here.
The U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS is pleased to announce the release of the 2010 Edition of the SAIS U.S.-Korea Yearbook.
The Yearbook analyzes important developments in North and South Korea that characterized their relations in 2010. Each paper was written by a SAIS student from the course, “The Two Koreas: Contemporary Research and Record,” in the fall of 2010. Their insights were based on extensive reading and study as well as on numerous interviews conducted with government officials, scholars, NGO workers, academics and private sector experts both in Washington and Seoul.
On March 29, 2011, the U.S.-Korea Institute and SAIS and Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress cohosted a seminar entitled, “Leadership Matters: The U.S.-ROK Alliance in the Lead Up to 2012.” The Honorable Lee Jae-oh, South Korea’s Minister of Special Affairs and 4 time National Assemblyman delivered the keynote speech for this event, entitled “Global Leadership: A New Vision for the U.S.-ROK Alliance,” highlighting such key issues the KORUS FTA, coordination on North Korea policy, and his vision for creating a Northeast Asian Community of Peace and Prosperity.
On Monday, January 24, 2011, the U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS will host a talk by Song Young-gil, Mayor of Incheon. Incheon is South Korea’s third largest metropolis and is a major international transport and business hub. The area of Incheon includes seven northwestern islands, including Yeonpyeong Island, the site of recent North-South hostilities. Mayor Song will discuss the implications of the Yeonpyeong incident and reducing tensions on the Korean peninsula. For more information, click here.
On September 23, 2010, USKI and the Sejong Society of Washington, D.C. hosted a talk with the VenerablePomnyun Sunim, who discussed the DPRK’s increasing economic dependency on China and touched on strategic possibilities for the U.S. and South Korea to approach the China-DPRK relationship.